DUNCANVILLE, Texas -- The 2014 Thanksgiving Hoopfest came to a conclusion on Saturday afternoon. On a relatively quiet day, the nation's second best player Emmanuel Mudiay played an efficient, controlled game to help Dallas (Texas) Prime Prep grind out a close win.
Different role for Mudiay
Last year, Dallas (Texas) Prime Prep was absolutely stacked. Led by the No. 2 player in the class of 2014 Emmanuel Mudiay and five-star sophomore Terrance Ferguson and a solid supporting cast, Prime once again has talent but isn't near as explosive or experienced on the interior as they were a year ago.
Saturday, they found themselves in a tough, grind it out game against a well coached, disciplined and scrappy Episcopal of Dallas squad. During a 56-53 win, Mudiay turned it on when needed and made 9-11 shots while scoring 19 points, dishing out four assists and adding three steals and two blocks.
Headed to SMU, Mudiay has size and athletic tools that no other point guard in the class of 2014 has. Because of that, he is able to turn things on and off which can be a gift and a curse. Throughout his two games at the Hoopfest, the future Mustang showed NBA ability with strong drives, great open floor passing and elite athleticism. But, he was also a bit hesitant at times. With a wing scorer like Ferguson slumping a bit and an inconsistent frontcourt -- 6-foot-7 freshman P.J. Washington shows lots of potential though -- Mudiay is relied upon heavily and is going through an adjustment.
While he thrives in an up and down game, opponents are slowing things down and throwing two and three defenders at him to try and keep him from beating them. Short term, this has caused Mudiay to step back and dissect how to be aggressive without playing out of control and it has him a bit hesitant. Long term, it's going to be very beneficial for Mudiay to learn to adjust to being the one guy defenses are absolutely keying on stopping.
Final Hoopfest notes
Keelon Lawson and brother Dedric Lawson went for big numbers again in a win over Dallas (Texas) AAA Academy. The junior and sophomore duo combined for 37 points and 24 rebounds in a 20 point win. However, it wasn't an overly efficient day for either. Memphis bound Keelon had the type of triple double you don't want scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds but also committing 11 turnovers against two assists. Dedric finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks of his own but missed all of his second half field goal attempts to finish just 6-20 from the floor (after going 8-22 on Saturday). There is no mistaking the tandem's talent, but improved efficiency will make them even more dangerous than they already are.
The development of Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian center Schnider Herard is going to be interesting to watch. At 6-foot-10 and at least 240 pounds, the sophomore big man is a massive presence in the lane. The young big man understands his size advantage and plays big as well. He set up shop in the lane for Prestonwood and didn't stray from there as he did a good job converting at the rim in a win over Trent International. Herard has high major size and potential and finished the day with a solid 17 point and 13 rebound outing. SMU has been very involved early along with others like Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Oklahoma and TCU.
One player that could end up helping out Mudiay and Prime Prep quite a bit down the road is senior power forward Byron Smith. A transfer from OD Wyatt in Ft. Worth, the 6-foot-7 Smith is a high flyer who can run the floor and play above the rim in the lane. Once he adjusts and gets more active, he could solidify the Prime frontcourt, help them on the glass and attract some Division One scholarship offers. His 11 points off the bench were key in the win over Episcopal.
2015 five-star King McClure still looks like he is playing at less than 100%. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard's explosiveness doesn't look to have fully returned and he seemed to be pressing a bit as AAA was struggling with Memphis (Tenn.) Hamilton. He did finish with 17 points and seven rebounds on 6-14 shooting, but he's still working his way back into shape and we are looking forward to seeing how he looks once he's all the way healthy.